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World Championship: Gabrial Okon lied on Emerald Egwim’s sickness

*She was sick and did her full warm-up?

Like a leech, the 4x400m medal miss at the World Athletics championship in London won’t freely leave town. An angry source who is in the total picture of what happened in the Nigerian team called from the United States of America on the Emerald Egwim’s sickness theory by coach Gabriel Okon.

Emerald Egwim...coach Okon lied against her
Emerald Egwim…coach Okon lied against her

An exchange of pleasantries started the conversation. “I am responding to your report titled: “You can’t blame coaches for poor show in London – Okon.”

Let me quickly put it straight. Coach Gabriel Okon lied in your report. Where and when did Emerald called him at 4:00am to complain of any sickness? Was Emerald so sick that she did her full warm up with the team and at the last minute, he told the team that Abike will be taking her place?

He should have owned up to his professional error rather than throw the entire fault on an alleged sickness of Emerald who he denied the opportunity of making medal history in her maiden world championship.

Part of the problem was the absence of coach Victor Omagbemi who qualified the girls for the World Championship. Where was Okon when coach Victor suffered through thick and thin to qualify for the Worlds? These are questions Nigerian journalists should have been asking the federation.

Coach Gabriel Okon...caught in the web of lies?
Coach Gabriel Okon…caught in the web of lies?

How many athletes has the so-called coach Okon produced to deserve to manage other athletes? Except that may be Abike is the coach’s favourite and he was so desperate to make her run at all cost without bothering about the consequences. He took a gamble and it failed. Why lie that Emerald was ill and that is why he changed a winning team. He is a bloody liar. Please tell him.

The male voice who most likely must be a relation of Emerald but who opted not to name himself went on to say, the less than professional conduct of the Nigerian athletics officials is part of why Nigerian kids in America think of not wanting to run for their fatherland.

Asked how authoritative he is on the issue, he said, “I spoke with Emerald. A family friend read the report in France and sent the link to me. I called Emerald to ask and she told me what happened and I feel so embarrassed why a coach has to descend so low to hang his fault on an athlete. That is wrong, unfair and irresponsible.

Such persons have no business being near a local of national team. I hope the Athletics Federation officials will use the London debacle to learn better lessons of athlete management. In modern day relay management, there is supposed to be a relay coach who is so familiar and has a parental character. Relays are more of chemistry and bonding not the way the Nigerians see it.

You journalists were not asking how and why Jennifer Madu and the same Okon had a running battle in the championship. How and why did that coach get into the Nigerian team. Sincerely, I am very sorry, I do not think he is a coach.


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  1. we all know Federal government has neglected track n field event,but if there is a chance to get a medal ,we should take…with what okon has said it has shown that they didnt even want a medal ,they just wanted to waste the athletes time by just competing…. if truly emerald was sick,a good coach would have allowed patience George to run d ankur leg rather than using her as d first leg….AFN should look for well trained coaches to help d athletes rather than using amateurs…

    • NgoziChukwu Akubuike

      Emerald was not sick. How was she able to run well and even gained time for Nigeria to qualify for semi final.

      Emerald has been running since her elementary school days in US. She rubs for her university in US, and came first in the Big Ten championship. That, dear friends, is not a slow runner. As a result of her performance, Nigeria aggressively and actively pursued her to represent Nigeria at the world championship. Nigeria was not responsible for her flight into London. The available flight into London was a day earlier than other athletes. Coach Gabe refused to pay for her hotel room and feeding for that one night. Emerald Egwim paid for her hotel room. Emerald Egwim paid for her training prior to the championship. After the semifinals, and upon realizing how much each athlete will get, they decided to bring in their “fresh leg”. Coach Gabe and others who made the decision to replace Emerald should be ashamed of themselves for allowing corruption and nepotism into an opportunity that would have brought honor to Nigeria. Coach Gabe should desist from disparaging Emerald. Otherwise, I will expose him.

  2. Olalekan Stephen Soetan

    The cat is finally out of the bag… It’s just the beginning. Lol

  3. I have been silent for a while because humans hate to hear the truth and they hate those who tell the truth.
    But all those chameleons who are quick to praise and also quick to castigate you know your self.
    Let us try to be fair and steadfast in all we do, let our yes be yes and our no be no.
    Don’t give an office to a man/woman because he/she is a friend or a brother.
    Let us all try to be professional in our conduct

  4. Muritala Tadho Abdulsalam

    Abey all this noises going round the Nigeria athletes and the officials. If you say the truth you will die, if you don’t say the truth you will die. Check out their individual personal best and the rest of the world in that final. I’m not saying the girls are not try, they did their best. Stop blaming coach or officials, we have limits in every event we are doing, their age tells when you get to final or Q. Finals and S. finals. We are too old. You are running with the athletes who can tell their real age. I stopped running when I saw the age of my fellow athletes here in Europe, im like double of their ages, I won many race but I can’t celebrate it . Let us start from the roots not from the tops, we need it to grow our dearest game back.